I’m allergic to having my photo taken. I am almost never satisfied with the result and I’m not very good at smiling for the camera, it all feels so fake and uncomfortable and in my opinion, I generally just look awful. In fact, it’s so bad that I have difficulty looking at myself in a mirror for too long, I just don’t like what I see and it makes no difference whatsoever how vociferously anyone tells me otherwise. Ironically though, as a photographer, I know without a shadow of a doubt that it is possible to capture the beauty in every person regardless of their size, bone structure, skin, hair length, eye colour, wrinkles, sex or age.
So, after giving myself a stern talking to, I decided that in order to see myself in a different, positive light and recognise the beauty in me, I need to embark on a little self-portrait project. I’m not sure how long it will take and even if I’ll ever reach my goal but I’m going to give it a good try. I think I am very brave to put these images on the web for all to see and deserve brownie points and a gold star for doing so!
In addition to being able to look fondly at myself in the future, I am hoping too, that the challenges facing me on this project will go a long way to improving my photography skills, a win-win situation so to speak.
My emphasis initially will be not so much on creating a great shot but just learning to get in front of the camera. I can concentrate on artistic expression and composition a tad later.
On my first try I learned three things:
- This is harder than I thought, how the heck do I focus when I’m not there in the frame to focus on? Then I tried using the tripod, focusing on an arbitrary object like a pillow and then breathlessly flinging it aside and posing in its place while the self timer counted down, this however led to harried, stern and unnatural facial expressions. I probably need more practice.
- Oh my God! Is this what I look like? I need to smile more, I’m scary when I don’t. (Naturally, I didn’t post these first frightening images)
- I can’t relax in front of the camera, I either need to hide behind something or make a funny face, I feel stupid posing. Clearly I have my work cut out for me.
The next time I tried it was very early in the morning, still in my PJ’s, in the bathroom mirror. This time I managed not to make funny faces or hide behind anything. It was pretty dark and I had to use a high ISO to gather as much light as possible, this gives the images a grainy look that is not unpleasing. I used the multi-point focus instead of the single focus point, I didn’t use a tripod and I hand-held the camera, all these factors affected the focus and the resulting pictures are not very clear. Not stunning shots but they seem to “express” more than the first two images and I’m also proud of me for being so audacious! As my Irish father would say, “Amn’t I good?”
This is so difficult and uncomfortable, I’m off to muster up some more courage.